Massive oil spill scars California coast

A large oil spill off the coast of Huntington Beach, California, has forced beaches all along the coast to close and pollution is expected to wash onshore for several days.

Residents and business owners in the impacted region, say they reported a tar-like smell as early as Friday evening, but authorities did not raise the alarm about the oil spill until Saturday night.

Capt. Rebecca Ore, commanding officer of Sector Los Angeles/Long Beach, assesses water and shoreline impacts along the Orange County coast. (Photo: U.S. Coast Guard)

The massive oil spill has devastated some local wildlife and forced beach closures. A 17-mile pipeline leaked 3,111 barrels — or about 127,000 gallons — of crude oil into the Pacific Ocean, Amplify Energy’s CEO said.

Amplify Energy announced that on Saturday, October 2, 2021, its subsidiary Beta Offshore first observed the incident, notified the US Coast Guard of an oil sheen about four miles off the coast in Southern California and initiated its Oil Spill Prevention and Response Plan.

Unified command representatives from the Coast Guard, California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response (CDFW-OSPR) and Amplify Energy, along with supporting agencies are the cities of Long Beach, Newport Beach and Huntington Beach have descended on the coast of Orange County.

Coast Guard personnel show forward looking infrared footage to members local officials, Oct. 3, 2021. A unified command has been established to respond to and clean up the oil spill off the California coast. (Photo: U.S. Coast Guard)

The oil and natural gas company sent a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to investigate and attempt to confirm source of the release. As a precautionary measure, all of the company’s production and pipeline operations at the Beta Field have been shut down.

Fourteen boats conducted oil recovery operations Sunday afternoon. Three Coast Guard boats enforced a safety zone off 1,000 yards around oil spill boats.

Four aircraft were dispatched for overflight assessments and the shoreside response was conducted by 105 government agency personnel.

Crude oil is shown in the Pacific Ocean offshore of Orange County, Oct. 3, 2021. (Photo: U.S. Coast Guard)

Approximately 3,150 gallons of oil have been recovered from the water and 5,360 feet of boom has been deployed. The investigation continues into the cause of the spill.

The Director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has declared a fishery closure for coastal areas affected by the oil spill. 

Crude oil is shown in the Pacific Ocean offshore of Orange County, Oct. 3, 2021. (Photo: US Coast Guard)

The oil spill off the coast of Southern California may have been caused by a boat anchor hitting an underwater pipeline and causing it to rupture, according to the chief executive of the energy company whose equipment was involved.

LONG BEACH, Calif. – Crude oil is shown in the Pacific Ocean offshore of Orange County, Oct. 3, 2021. A unified command has been established to respond to and clean up the oil spill off the California coast. Official U.S. Coast Guard photo.

The largest oil spill to have occurred in the waters off California was a blow-out on January 28, 1969, 6 miles from the coast on Union Oil’s Platform A in the Dos Cuadras Offshore Oil Field.

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